Print Media versus Digital Advertising

A few weeks ago, Newsweek became the latest magazine to announce it would cease publication of the Newsweek printed edition in favor of a digital-only format at the end of this year. Smart Money Magazine ceased print publication in the summer, and rumors have swirled that the U.K.’s The Guardian is in the process of finalizing there decision in a digital only publication.

As PR professionals, we have all been in meetings with clients, both new and old, where the first outlets they describe as their “home runs” are print publications, but they are steadily being eclipsed by their online counterparts and new Internet-only media. Now, lets see the difference of the positive/negatives of both of them.

  • Earned media begets owned media. As the fields of public relations, social media, and marketing become more integrated; Tweets, and Facebook posts are rated high-quality that elevates brand awareness to the next level and ensures that the media coverage you secured has a higher value to the client.
  • Tracking tactics. With the advent of Google Analytics, tracking the results of an integrated social media and PR campaign has become easier. While Google Analytics can help show the potential impact of a print hit by looking at direct traffic to your website. This level of information can provide insight to clients on what is and isn’t working for media outreach.
  • It’s a numbers game. A large majority of online outlets have higher circulations then traditional print publications. In fact, many magazines and newspapers are outdone by their own online counterparts; The Sunday print edition of the New York Times has a circulation of a little over two million, while the online-only version has over 15 million unique visitors per month.
  • Content. It lives! While that mention of your client in yesterday’s newspaper is
    probably now in the recycling bin, a mention in a media site continues to live on
    well past the date it was posted.
  • SEO-tastic. Print articles will more than likely mention your company’s website,
    but this requires readers to go to a computer and physically type in a link to access product or brand information. Online media takes out that middle man, placing hyperlinks directly to a client’s home page, product page, or blog right in the body of the article. With the simple click of a button, readers can be exposed to the latest news and offerings by your clients. In addition to this easy exposure, every one of these links leading back to your website is great for your SEO, and as more original articles with links to your website appear on popular, well- respected websites, your SEO value will only increase.
  • Integration of assets. Articles in a print publication are limited in the type of assets they can incorporate. For example, print media can only include a photo (and the inclusion of a photo is usually dependent on space) and occasionally QR codes, aside from text. With online features, you have ability to share other assets you have created, such as slideshows and videos, making your client and their product or service that much more attractive to potential consumers.
  • Constant content. Unlike magazines that tend to be released monthly and newspapers that come out daily or weekly, online outlets are constantly looking to generate and update content. This need for continuous content creation allows PR pros to not only approach online sites and editors with varied, strategic angles, but also gives a platform to immediately make outreach for clients when there is breaking news.